Lieberman Calls for Emergency Food and Shelter Funding

WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) introduced a bill Friday authorizing funding for a small, but highly effective program to assist communities in providing emergency aid to the homeless, hungry, and working poor in all fifty states.

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFS) distributes funds to community-based, non-profit and social service agencies that run shelters, soup kitchens and food banks, and offer emergency rent and utility assistance. By relying on community participation, the program keeps administrative overhead to an unusually low 3 percent. The program re-authorization legislation is co-sponsored by Lieberman and Governmental Affairs Committee members Susan Collins (R-Maine), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii),

“This program is a highly efficient example of the government relying on the country?s non-profit organizations to help people in innovative ways,” Lieberman said.

The EFS, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, relies on local boards in counties and municipalities to advertise the availability of funds, to decide on non-profit and local government agencies to be funded, and to monitor the recipient agencies. The program has not been authorized by Congress since 1994, although Congress has continued to fund it. The Lieberman proposal re-authorizes the program for three years and proposes an increase in annual funding from the current $140 million to $150 million. Additionally, the proposal calls for a $10 million increase in each of the following two years.

For fiscal year 2001, grants will be distributed to local Connecticut boards in the following areas:

Bridgeport Area $122,566

Hartford County $316,951

Danbury Area $37,303

New Haven County $305,783

Norwalk Area $45,296

New London County $93,889

Stamford Area $61,283

 State Board $87,399